Microsoft this morning announced a major strategic partnership with Grab, a Southeast Asia-based on-demand transportation, mobile payments, and online-to-offline services giant. Under the terms of the agreement, Grab will move to Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform. And Microsoft will invest an undisclosed sum in Grab.
“Grab has already made a significant difference in the way people across Southeast Asia get to places safely, order and enjoy food, and securely process payments,” a Microsoft representative told me. “Tapping into the power of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud and AI capabilities, the companies will engage on a number of innovation technology projects to transform the experience for customers.”
“This partnership signals a deep collaboration with Microsoft on an array of technology projects, including big data and artificial intelligence, that will transform the delivery of everyday services and mobility solutions in Southeast Asia,” Grab president Ming Maa said in a prepared statement. “As a global technology leader, Microsoft’s investment into Grab highlights our position as the leading homegrown technology player in the region. We look forward to collaborating with Microsoft in the pursuit of enhancing on-demand transportation and seamless online-to-offline experiences for users.”
Grab operates in 235 cities across Southeast Asia and is the largest mobile online-to-offline platform in the region. Grab’s digital wallet is likewise the market leader in Southeast Asia.
While Microsoft’s investment is interesting, the partnership will run for at least five years and is actually rather sweeping, too: Grab will utilize Azure-based services, including many powered by AI, across its many offerings. And the firm will integrate its services into Microsoft Outlook and pilot Microsoft’s Kaizala, a mobile app and service for large group communications and work management, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its customer service teams.